tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN April 27, 2011 10:00am-1:00pm EDT
president of the united states but almost the super majority leader of the senate at the time. they needed 67 votes. the only way they would do that is for both parties to be on board. it was a minority faction within the minority party. johnson knew he needed to get the minority party on board. much of the bill was written in the backrooms of the republican leader. they worked with the republican leader to come up with a bill that would bring on enough votes to pass it. that was one of the most of the good pieces of legislation that came about because jobs and do have the legislative process worked. host: thank you for being here this morning. a big thanks to carl for winning the grand prize documentary. thank you for being here. if you missed the 2011
competition, you can go toward nto our website. next year's theme is select any provision of the u.s. constitution and create a video illustrated why it is important to you. it is studentcam.org. thank you for watching today. we will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 with more of your phone calls. coming up next, the white house released president obama's original birth certificate confirming his birth in honolulu. he spoke on the issue just a few moments ago. you can see the birth certificate online c-span.org. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] /
has investigated this confirm that, yes, in fact, i was born in hawaii, august 4, 1961, in khaliuani hospital. we have posted the certification that was given by the state of hawaii on the internet for everybody to see. people have provided affidavits that they, in fact, have seen this birth certificate, and yet this thing just keeps on going. now, normally i would not comment on something like this because obviously there is a lot of stuff swirling in the press at any given day, and i've got other things to do. but two weeks ago when the republican house had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country. and when i give a speech about my budget and how i felt that we
needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we have a strong safety net for our seniors, even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn't about these huge monumental choices that we're going to have to make as a magse nation. it was about my birth certificate. and that was true on most of the news outlet's represented here. i would like to make a larger point here. we have some enormous challenges out there. there are a lot of folks out there still looking for work. everybody is still suffering under high gas prices. we're going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future, but also get ahold of our deficit and our debt.
how do we do that in a balanced way? and this is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates. and there is going to be some fierce disgroments. -- disagreements. that's good. that's how democracy is supposed to work. i am confident that the american people and america's political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. we always have. but we're not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. we're not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. we're not going to be able to do it if we make stuff up and pretend facts are not facts. we're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side-shows and carnivals.
we have to do this in a way that will make our kids, grand kids, and great-grand kids proud. i have every confidence that america in the 21st century will come out on top like we always have. we're going to have to get serious to do it. i know there will be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest. but i'm speaking to the vast majority of the american people, as well as to the press. we do not have time for this kind of stuff. we have better stuff to do. we have big problems to solve. i'm confident we can solve them, but we're going to have to focus on them.
not on this. thanks very much, everybody. >> you can read the president's hawaiian birth certificate. we posted that at c-span.org. expect national security news coming out of the white house in the next day or so. leon panetta will replace defense secretary robert gates. he says the white house chose him because of his administrative and depeeled experience. the official says panetta has traveled more than 200,000 miles to more than 40 c.i.a. stations. it is possible administration sources say that the president will name panetta to that post tomorrow. he's also expected to announce general david petraeus as his choice for the c.i.a. job in afghanistan today eight nato service members were killed and a contractor by an afghanistan pilot. we'll get an update later today. richard mill will be at the
carnegie endowment for international peace. today on c-span at 12:00 eastern time. >> in politics, campaign for 2012. we are in iowasy from 1:00 until 2:00 for the iowa exchange, and the "jim fisher show" on thursday at 3:00. today's show at 1:00 will be smull cast here on c--- simulcast here on c-span. >> there will be a news conference today after today's fed meeting with ben bernanke. that gets underway at 2:15 eastern. >> we're going to bring you an update on genetics, consumer genomics and their impact on the public. from the university of colorado
in bowleder. a panel of the world affairs conference. the panel includes authors, scientists, and the head of the national wildlife foundation. this is just under an hour and a half. >> sidney perkowitz is here. he has published books on science and technology. his latest book is on the science and technology of light, such as invisibility cloaks.
to his left is kevin davis. kevin is the founding editor of bio-i.t. world. he's trade is human genetics. he's the author of the book called "the thousand dollar genome an account of revolutionary technologies and the road to personalized medicine." he huh previously written "cracking the genome, the first public account for the race for the human genome project" which has been praised by reviewers. davis received a ph.d. in human genetics from the university of london. as well as having post doctoral fellowships at m.i.t. and --
to his left is beth. she handles research papers with a focus on genetics and geno mifment cs. she's written for the journal and the nature for which she is the former editor and chief on genomics and genetic discrimination. to my right is larry, president of the national wildlife federation. he returned in 2004 with a commitment to confront the problems in the wildlife and save our children's future. currently he served as the western nature conserveansy where he promoted ecological research. mr. schwager currently serves on the board of directors of the alliance for climate protection,
the h. john heinz iii center for science, and the national wildlife action fund. so we will now begin the panel with sidney speaking first. thank you. >> thank you. hello, everybody. it is nice to see a full house. everyone looks much more alert than the audience did with my panel at 9:00 this morning. that's a great start. you've all had coffee, i hope. you i'm sidney, and my talk would be a little different if the other three folks that you heard introduced here had the word biology or wildlife or genetics in their background. that is one important thread in thinking about how we will plan. i'm going to stalk about a different thread. it doesn't have natural descendants, but i think it is important. that is to talk about bionic people. bionic is a word that combines
-- a lot of people in this room are bionic without knowing it. i am because i have a defibrilator right here. so bionic people already exist. this kind of new human being will be an important thread. it is driven by two things. one is development in robotics. those who know of robotics, know i'm wearing the robotics t-shirt. this is invented by the man who created robotics. it was in a play back in the 1920's. in the u.s. the military uses robots a great deal. nasa uses robotics a great deal. you have heard of the wonderful work on mars. japan is interested in robotics as assistants in hospitals and so ong.
that's one thread. the other thread, and this is one unexpect today me until i researched it is the development of process thetics. prosthetics go far back in history. there is a story in history about a warrior who lost her leg and was replaced with a ivory leg. unexpected consequences. the iraq war. our mill ri wears body armor. their torso is protected but their arms and legs are not. we have had large numbers of injuries to arms and leagues. over 30,000 cast watts, we have over 1,500 people that need new arms and legs. the military has put over $1 billion in the development of prosthetic limbs. now you are talking about an
extreme example of a bionic person who has a prosthetic arm. the new things happening is in addition to physical prosthetics, we are talking about neuro-prosthetics. that means prosthetics are involved in your mind, not just your limbs. one implant are cochlear implants. they pick up sound and carry the sound to the britain and -- to the brain, and and help restore hearing in the deaf.
so we're seeing not just an armor leg that can flex, but can flex under direct mind control. this has been demonstrated for 10 years. people have done wonderful work with monkeys and eventually with humans where electrodes are implanted in the brain. i know that sounds horrible. but there are no pain centers in the brain. neither the monkeys or the humans suffer from this. the monkeys, and in one case a paralyzed human being were able to control computer curseors and direct the cursor to specific places on the screen or in the case of the human being who was totally paralyzed, could not communicate at all, could spell out words letter by letter without moving a muscle. so these are fantastic break-throughs. it's true they won't lead to descendants. you will hear from the rest of the panel, i think, about genetic descendants.
on the other hand, if you get the gene wrong, you do not want to produce a decendant. so there are some approaches that are worth thinking about, and i at least want you to be aware that this effort is going on. there is not an integrated effort to make a better human being bionically or genetically. and by the way, i would worry about who would define the word "better." this smacks of a direction that we do not want to go. now, there are some thinkers and writers, and maybe the main one is wayne kirtswild. he invented a reading machine for the blind which made him rich and gives him the chance to be considered a serious
visionary. he asks whether this will lead humanity to a transcendent stage. where we will all live forever and have our brains expanded. i don't go that far. i do think the steps described are important steps and could offer an alternative to genetic changes in humanity and who knows, turn out to be the easier path to go. that's all i want to say, and i'll leave it to the rest of the panel. [applause] >> thank you, sidney. hello, everyone. not quite as many people as for the discussion on sex a couple hours ago, but nice crowd nonetheless. i'm kevin davis. my first visit to c.w.i. and my first panel, and i want to thank the organizers for their kind invitation and for making us feel so welcome. they have laid on everything
except oxygen. for those of us at sea level, it is hard for us to get our breath, but we will make it through the session. so when i saw the title for this first panel for me of the week, i immediately panicked. i went online and looked for some resources to try to sound vaguely informed about this subject, and i immediately came upon a fantastic resource. it is a new book from the best soundtrack that you probably never heard of, fip philip ball. his latest book is called "unnatural, the heretical idea of making people." and in the book he looks at societal and historical concepts about designing people from ancient time through mary shelly and frank stein and "brave new world."
unfortunately the book is not yet public blibbed in the u.s. i did not get my could bey from the u.k. that doesn't help me or you a lot. the next item i found is one that in a way you just heard about. time magazine recently had a cover story entitled "the year that man becomes immortal." that is the year 2045. this is the work and the future -- futuristic discussions that ray kirtzwild has been talking about. his belief is that the -- that computers are accelerating so quickly that it will soon exceed human intelligence. once it exceeds human intelligence it will conquer
human intelligence and then we're pretty much toast. he has computers mopping up cancers and plaques and eventually they will get lodged in augmenting our brain and consciousness and we'll be -- i don't know we'll be software programs living inside computers or something like that. for all his vision, a book he published on this subject is not terribly easy reading. i'm not sure i would recommend it. if you go online, apparently is -- there is a new film in the works called "the singularity is near." it has -- it is part science and part b movie. it has alan derschowitz and -- playing himself. you saw him completely crushing
the two humans gullible enough to go up against it. we're seeing remarkable advances in computer technology. that's not what i want to devote the rest of my time to. as a lapsed jeanette sift, that's the angle that i would naturally gravitate to. a popular cultural reference as far as the future of the human race goes is the film "gaseker." not the greatest sci-fi film ever made but thoughtful in its premis. it was directed by andrew nicole. it featured the human race divided into two classes. you have the physically perfect specimens.
portrayed in the movie by jude law and uma thurmon who are pretty physically perfect, i suspect. they are disease-free. and then you have the invalids portrayed by ethan hawk who are conceived the old-fashioned way who the genetic lottery is left to chance. hawk has a laundry list of genetic glitches and predispositions we have, which if we were to do the same of any of you i dare say would look pretty similar. we all have these glitches, of course. the technology in that film is one that enables this sort of futuristic idea, regardless of how far you want to push that idea, the actual route to technology has been centered around a long time. the first invitro-fertzation baby was born in the u.k.
there have been 14 million test tube babies since louise' birth. a technique often used to supplement iv f. is preimplantation genetic diagnosis. the -- the term was b.a.b.y., but we call it pre-pgt where embrios two days old can be selected, we can look at d.n.a. and look at any gene we're interested in. particularly if it is a diseased gene, to ensure only healthy embryos get implanted back into the mother. there is a clinic in detroit called genecists who can be screened by more than 200 genetic diseases. they say plainy will not their -- on their website that -- if you know whatever disorder your
family may have, if we know the gene for that disorder, we know the skens of that gene, which we do thanks to the human genome project, then we can screen in and zoom in on that particular gene. if you have already been con seeved, this discussion may not be as of much importance to you. but there is a lot of information you can get about yourself and your potential partner. there is a cup called counsyl that provides a list a genetic diseases that performs ca rifment otesting for cystic fibrosus and tasachs and a long, long list. i have a friend in the u.k. who did this before they decided to have a baby, so they were able to compare their genetic lottery list, and say, i'm a carry for this, but that's ok, because you're not. and i see you are a carrier for
this, but it's ok, because i don't you may think this is far-fetched, but if you are starting a family, it doesn't cost much, and that's something you can do. there's another organization called the beyond batten foundation that will do something like this for over 600 genes. it was started by a entrepreneur in texas who had a child with an incurable degenerative disorder and he wants to eradicate not just batten disease but eradicate all of the childhood diseases like it. so he started this foundation. later this year they will launch a test that will potentially lead to a one-stop sort of screening test for hundreds of diseases which could be offered when couples are going to be married. it could be offered when kids are entering adolescence in consultation with their families. there are many time points where
you could potentially offer this. of course we're entering a point where sequencing will become the panels later in the week where woo we'll talk about batting later in the sequence. it's one thing to talk about looking at scrining themselves our our family members or children or embryos for a whole host of genetic diseases. then the logical question is, why should we stop there? could we not push the envelope a little further? what if we want to ensure that our kid is going to be a strapping 6' 4," he's going to be a football player or something like that? what if we found the gene for perfect pitch, which i'm pretty sure we're going to find pretty soon? what if we want to ensure our kids have every possible genetic faculty to have a professional career as a professional musician? i'm not endorsing these things,
i'm just saying these are possibilities we can talk about. finally, in speaking about "gasiker" the tag line which is about genetic determinism, we may find genes for everything we would care about, but there is no gene for the human spirit. i was reminded about that when i was talking to a professor at harvard who was part of a large team -- at stanford, who was part of a large team that sequenced a genome. last april a paper was published in the "lancet" the second best medical journal in the world, published look at the ortho clinical interpretations of having a whole human genome sequence laid in front of you. they focused on heart disease because he had heart disease history in his family. they recommended that he start
taking nistatin. he is in his early 40's and he was resisting this heavily. the other stanford said to me, we have learned a lot about steve, but we have yeth yet to find the clines gene. soism going to -- we have learned a lot about steve, but we have yet to find the compliance gene. [applause] >> i want to thank all the people involved in this conference. i would like to talk a little about the difference between selection and engineering, which kind of goes to the end of your thought, kevin. and differentiate between the two. selection has been going on since the d.n.a. molecule existed. we know about natural selection in the way in which the environment may influence the problems of say a particular
plant species depending on how well that plapt species is suited to the environment, how well it propogates that seed. and then selection is a process that can increase or decrease the odds of traits in progeny, be they in mice or kids or, as i said, plants. and certain naturally occurring traits, such as being male, for example, or having hearing loss. engineering, on the other hand, i would define as creating a new trait that wasn't previously present in that particular -- a particular organism or even species. .
through in vitro fertilization, and the cell was analyzed for the presence of a mutation in a particular gene, say cystic fibrosis. if it ran in my family, and i have not had a screaming test, or even if i had, i would want to know if the embryo. that mutation. -- a if that embryo had that mutation. within the food, it is penalized for the presence of a mutation, and pregnancies are sometimes terminated on the basis of genetic information that results. this can lead to an interesting questions. one of the more interesting questions is illustrated by a scenario in which a first child may develop a really severe
disease, franconia anemia is one such disease. it is a devastating disease that often leads to death in childbirth. the only way to treat the disease is to give the child they transplant of bone marrow, basically, progenitor blood that basically pretty new blood supply. there is a requirement for that to be successful. the transplant must be genetically matched to the child. you probably will have heard of searches for genetically- suitable donors and banks that house say umbilical blood, or blood samples. the bigger the banks are, where a more diverse there, the more likely you will find a match. sometimes the matches are tougher to find. it has had -- it has happened
where couples have had a second child, and they select that child so it does not harbor the disease mutation that causes franconia media, and they also -- anemia, and it also selected for a genetic matching, hla matching, so the second child becomes a donor for the first child. it raises a lot of questions about the instruments position with respect to the second child. there are a lot of ethical questions that arise that are interesting, that potential parents anreally have to wrestle with. i think that engineering, and
the other hand, is something that is not likely to happen in humans. it would be dangerous to stay forever, but there are so many -- we know so little, really, -- we know the complement of genes that humans have come up with a look like, but so little about what they do -- have, what they look like, but so little about what they do. taking one up or down, or putting a new gene in, could have unintended consequences. people do this all the time with mice. just to give you an example, not a real life example, but something that may have happened. say i create a mouse that has an eye pigment match. i agreed two months to get that mouse. -- breed two mice to get that
mouse to a bowl of them die of seven -- mouse. two of them die from sudden cardiac arrest. who knew that the pigment of the guy had a role in her development? we did not -- of the i had a role in heart development? you could see the consequences if we try to do this in humans. maybe i'm wrong. i would love to hear a little push back. i think it is fun to talk about , fund to imagine tweaking your hemoglobin's are you are a little less restless -- hemoglobin so you are a little less restless. i think about taking down my daughter's talk-back and jane. [laughter]
if i did that, i would think that she might be overly submissive, and you could go on like this all day. it is certainly a very exciting time in genetic and engine gnomic technology -- and gen gnomic technology. i think a lot of things the concept of understanding human disease, but beyond that, i would agree that -- with the hesitant note. [applause] >> thank you, bette phimister. larry? >> i am larry schweiger, and it is a privilege to be here. this is my first time to be on a panel of the conference of world affairs. it is a real treat.
my goal here is to approve an observation that everyone is agreement, only in different subjects. this is -- ignorant, only in different subject. this is a subject i did not pretend to know a lot about, but i do have concerns about genetic elements in the world that i worked in. one of the things that i have discovered in an interesting way about genetics and the impact on humans -- i had the privilege of meeting my brother for the first time when i was 30 years old. i have never met him before. we did not know about each other. this discovery -- in this discovery, our wives started matching up our behaviors, and i discovered to my astonishment how many of the behaviors that i had were identical to the behavior my brother had, who grew up half of a country away from me. i always knew you could get blue
eyes, brown eyes, that sort of thing, but i did not realize how much of our behavior is imbedded in our genes. i want to make another observation about this notion of designing our descendants. i looked at 44 states and the number of divorces that happen across the country, and it occurs to me that we are not even good at picking our mates, in a long our descendants. we ought to use some humility if we start down that path. i think that the minister is right -- steam mr. is right, but if we do get into genetics, let me suggest a principle that is useful. a great wildlife biologist and observer noted in 1950 that animals were moving further north on the planet, and she wrote a chapter in her book, where she described in our very
own time we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate, and that is even before there was a temperatures signal on the planet. what was there was an elevated carbon dioxide, and that elevated carbon dioxide was causing animals to move. i will give you one example. lowly possum has been on the planet for 75 million years, perhaps longer, we do not know, but the animal has been through dramatic changes. the animal started in the southern united states. the confederates 8 possums around the campfire. the -- ate possums around a campfire. yankees did not know what it was.
here is an animal as a naked feet, and naked years, and naked tail, and when the young are born, after 12 days that are bought naked and highly probable, here is a set immobile in northward. -- moving not -- here is an animal moving northward. i think it as a carbon dioxide signal. if we ought to search for jeans, we ought to search for genes that give humans the carbon dioxide signal because we do not have it. if we start tinkering around, that would be a good place to start, but i fear we will not start their care we will start with genes that more profitability -- there. we will start with other genes that have more profitability. we are now adding genes to plants that you and i are
heating to be more resistant to pesticides and herbicides, and we are seeing those deployed on agricultural lands in this country and elsewhere, and that is a troubling trend, i think. it is being done without the kind of research that it should have, and frankly, there were politics involved in some of the decisions made from that subject. i think there is a chance of some of these manipulated jeans getting loose in nature, and a chance of us creating real problematic new plants. one of the plants they are working on, is a plant resistant to toxic metals. is that interferes with plans we consume, i think there is a great risk. in the environmental community, we are skeptical of the notion of manipulating genes without careful study. it is not a blanket yes or no,
but the union of concerned scientists have a wonderful web page on this subject i would highly recommend that. to conclude, i think it is important that we understand that so much of what we know a about our environmental consequences we know through mistakes. with the recent disaster in japan, we now understand at storing waste material at a power plant is not a good idea, and four or five power plants in a row is not a good idea, so we have learned a lot of things. that is how we learn most of what we know about toxic chemicals and other problems in the human environment. i would urge that we use care, that we be very cautious and systematic in the way we pursue forward, and understand there are way too many companies will have a profit interest that make
large donations to politicians and get things done in a super- fast way that is totally inappropriate. was that, i will stop, and say that i hope we do that -- was that, i will stop, and say that i hope we -- with that, i will stop, and say that i hope we get this right. [applause] >> thank you for your provocative comments. did you have any questions? >> i have a question for seven and bette phimister. we can't invent more diseases than we can cure. -- we can invent more diseases than we can care. i was wondering what the recent thinking was about that? >> well, the consumer genetics' companies are providing all kinds of information about your
potential risk to a slew of conditions and traits, and virtually none of which are curable. some of them are actionable, so there is a difference between the two parent a company decides they will give you and permit -- two. there is a company that the signs they can give you test that range from about $200 to $1,000. you can do it from dna extracted from your saliva. thousands of people have done this over the last few years, and i wrote about it in my book. they provide information purely on actable diseases, which include, for example, alzheimer's, even though there is no cure. they what are you there are things you can do in your lifestyle and -- they what are you there are things you can do in your lifestyle and diet. odyssey, science is advancing all the time.
-- obviously, science is advancing all the time. the big question is is this information useful, and does it have -- and is something we have a right to receive? >> so, there is the policy involving the does more good than harm? >> well, i would not say eighth policy. it is a force. it is more good than harm fall, but there are public hearings because there are elements that are very concerned about this because they see it as a threat to the status quo. >> i would say that you would tell somebody at their asked for that information. so, if you order a genetic test, such as the type you described, you know you are ordering information on genetic risk, no matter how small it might be on a range of diseases. you are asking that question, you know you will get some kind
of information back. the question becomes more interesting, i think, in terms of sequencing, where i might go and have my whole general sequence because i want to know what my wrist is for certain types of neurological diseases, but say it reveals all of these glitches to which you refer. maybe i had no idea about it. mid-have a high risk to seven cardiac death, but i'm -- maybe i have high risks to sudden cardiac death, but maybe there is nothing new -- nothing i can do if i know that information. so if someone came to me and said i want to know what my wrist is of getting alzheimer's disease, -- what might risk is of getting alzheimer's disease, but i find out they could die long before that, i'm not sure
what i would do. >> this is much more relevant. there is now a hospital in wisconsin that is pioneering whole genome sequencing, looking for a mutation that causes a particular disease or disorder, where they seek consent from the family to say a are you just interested in that one specific gene, or do you want a whole report? there might be other things, perhaps a cancer risk, that you might want to know about. it is really up to the family's. >> we know what we know now, but say in 10 years' time, there might be a whole new body of research that sheds light on the genetic risk variants, which look like nothing now.
so, do i want to give weber hones -- holds my sequence -- whoever holds my sequence the power to come back and tell me risks that could be acted on in the future, but not now? >> thank you. at this point, we will open it to questions from the audience. if you have a question, please feel free to come to the microphone. do not be shy. >> just a question about ethics, may be directed more toward cabin and betsy mr., but anyone can answer. -- has an and bette phimister, but anyone can answer. where is a line, a disease, but you want to be blind, what if you do not want to be gay?
is that ethical? >> i can tell you what i know. i can mention one specific clinic where they are performing pre-implementation genetic diagnoses purely on medical diseases, and it is a very astute question. obviously, there is a slew of things -- sensuality, complexion, but in principle, assuming we knew the genes for these things, which in many cases we do not, but let's play along, could be screened for. just because that clinic says we are not going to go there, it is unethical, does not mean another private clinic might say if it is an agreement between myself and my family, and they want to look at it, and i am not breaking any laws, then i might go along with doing it. i have heard suggestions of their might be a few private clinics in los angeles, for example.
assuming technology gets to that point, they could go down that road. i am not aware of any hard and fast line that says you are allowed to go this far, but not any further. >> i think there would have to be pretty good evidence to suggest that a fetus carrying these protestant -- for the sums are negatively discriminated against in some cultures. i guess there will be illegal activity. >> thank you. this refers a chocolate -- etch coolly -- actually, he said computers might take over. d.c. this as a threat to
humanity? you can see this now, from the way the world is structured, how much more intelligent creatures street less intelligent creatures. if you think about it, its machines were to test humanity and intelligence, d. think they could see us as the cattle, but how, and would we be more inclined to say -- the cow, and will we be more inclined to increase our strength. >> did you see "the terminator?" >> that is what pops into my mind. it be better if there was of blend? i know there was a talk about a
future of the blind with robots and becoming new -- a new species with parts set our robotic. the word escapes me, but it would be better than if we were to merge? >> if we designed this creature, maybe we could put in a sense of ethics that kept us safe. that is one possibility. another thing i can remind you about is robots run on batteries. even if the robots wanted to take over the world, they would drop dead in about two hours. so, i think we are safe in the immediate future, but i do think this idea of becoming more cyborgian, has real potential. i talk about what these little smart phones need to us, -- mean to us, and one point i made is that the chip that as a calculating is microscopic.
there is no reason this cannot be implanted in your brain. if we becomes -- if we become cyborgs in the sense of our brain capacity expands, maybe you did not need to make a sideboard, maybe you have just expanded human capacity. >> there is the term "singularity" from this convergence. it is borrowed from physics and astronomy because it refers to an event verizon beyond which something impressive is happening, but we cannot really see it. he says this will happen by 2045, but the irony is he is popping more vitamins and supplements so he can make sure he is still around. your speculation is as good as mine. >> thank you. thank you, sir.
>> cool, all right. i am directing my question everybody, but it is concerning what bette phimister was saying. he made a distinction between engineering and selection, and i see what you mean by it, and i see that it is useful in some cases, but it kind of ignores, light, the discovery of transgenic. we have, like, in nature, total synthesize -- genes that can flow synthesize, -- soto synthesize. there is a potential to do similar things in humans. it seems like it is more of like the creation of a gene, but it is not through engineering in the way you are describing it. it is more of a selection.
were we to do that with people, we could have like 300 days of sun, dude. that is pretty cool. [laughter] >> there is hope for my opossum? [laughter] >> i think it goes back to this notion that there are a lot of things that we can do, and we might be able to do in the future, but i would suggest that we be very careful of what we do, and understand the implications, and take the long view. when you start making those kind of changes, they can be profound and have enormous consequences to future generations. >> so, these slugs that slow synthesize, when you say transgenic, were they sort of natural experiments, or were they made to photosyntesize?
>> it. in h. -- happened in nature. >> there must have been some event that survived for you to tell the tale, and that is great, but it could have the as easily dyed. >> what i am concerned about is the distinction -- what your distinction seems to be based on if humans are doing it or not, and that seems be based on a definition of natural but excludes humans from the natural, and i question the usefulness of that in this sort of discussion. >> fair point. i think where you are experimenting, though, when we have so little knowledge of what
genes do, and you are experimenting with, in a sense, perhaps -- signs for science's stake is fun, but when you are dealing with children, it takes a different slant. one has to be a little more wary of unexpected event spurred >> so, you're concerned mostly with the risks -- defense. >> so, you're concerned mostly with the risks involved in playing with the jeans? >> yes. i came to the table saying that it is great, because we could do things that could feed the world, and another session as well, but then listening to you, i thought maybe, you know, sure, it seems like there are so many great solutions that engineering of plants can give us in the next -- in the foreseeable future, the next 10 years.
i guess, what you are saying is in the next 20 or 30 years, that might not look so rosy. >> my personal view is that we are down that path already. we are introducing plans that are specifically designed to tolerate higher levels of 24d and other higher levels so we can spray more fields and a bridges which is in higher doses because the natural plants are developing resistance. we are upping the ante as we go forward with a number of chemicals, and we are doing it through the genetic manipulation of commercial plants. it also means we are creating a plant that we develop -- depend on with a more narrow genetic makeup. those are the kind of things for me that are problematic wendy's -- problematic. when the profit motive gets into action, and we start
simplifying, we start making mistakes, and we are seeing some of the results because some of the genes are getting into nature now and showing up off of the site. >> to your question, i would say that we could inject you with the genes of with the grain florescence gene, which would not happenit raises the issue of other genetic technologies and to keep in mind the ethical and the societal concerns that have been raised and should remain in the forefront of our thinking. we have not -- it has been in the doldrums for about 10 years after the tragic death of one of the first gene therapy patients in clinical trial in about 1990.
after appropriate research, making sure they're much safer as far as the body's ability to tolerate them, we are starting to see a resurgence. there have been some published claims that people have been cured with the way in the bubble diseases. -- blake in the bubble diseases. how about we engineer their genome or -- i would just echo the moment we start contemplating trying to tinker with this gene and boosting that one, they're so fiendishly complicated and we may begin to unravel them all the textbooks such a half -- all of these textbooks that you have show all
of these diagrams but the human body is nothing like that. when you take drugs from aspirin to any prescription drug, there's no such thing as a safe drug. it may target a particular protein but it will also regulate a slew of other things which could lead to potentially fatal side effects. it's bad enough taking small chemicals, levelland tinkering with genes. >> thank you. >> what do you all think of the propensity of humans to use technology to address symptomatic issues as opposed to systemic issues?
in green technology, we have cups we can compost and solar panels which we still use lots of carbon to produce and are no way sustainable instead of perhaps looking at how we look at other parts of the planet as resources and their for human use and consumption. i see the hubris of our intelligence is we feel separate and apart from nature as several people have mentioned. how we use our technology to address the short-term rather than long-term. think humans are very good at looking long term. that appears in everything we do -- politics, how we apply technology and so on. you hear people talk about genetic engineering and it comes down to f -- will my kid be smarter if i give the doctor
$30,000. people talk about what means for the whole human race. maybe other people on the panel have examples of long-term thinking that i don have any examples of it. -- i don't have any examples of that. >> while it takes carbon-based fuels to produce solar panels, if we start ratcheting up, we will build a more sustainable system and we will get there eventually. your point is critical -- we are increasing our population dramatically on the planet. year after year we have increased the amount of carbon dioxide and we're changing the planet in very fundamental ways. we are not looking at these things in a way that would lead us to a more sustainable
situation on the planet. there is a lot of potential in the world of genetics even now put a caution flag on that. there may be some things we can do with careful research and the long view in mind. the gene i would like to see removed is, since corporations are people now thanks to the supreme court, let's remove the agreed gene from the corporate human that has been created by our supreme court. [applause] >> thank you. >> please. >> thank you for you all being here. are we watching the tyro playing god? is there a line we should not cross or should we keep walking forward?
we're going to fall eventually, but is there a line? >> yes, there is a line. we need to know what the line is and be careful to create structures to avoid crossing the line. a personal example is when i took a job, i was tested psychologically to see if i was capable of being a ceo of a lot of folks without going off the bench. i understand why a potential employer would want to do that but as we know more about our genetic makeup and corporations will be tempted to figure out whether you have the gene that will end up costing the corporation lot of money, i think those are really important lines.
we need to have a systematic approach to finding what the ethical, moral and scientific barriers are. that is not happening concurrent with some of the things i talked about. we're not drawing those boundaries and there is not a policy i think is right -- i think is appropriate or responsible to address some of these issues. >> in the context of government, there is increasing awareness of the need to pass laws that make it illegal, to get genetic information so you can get health insurance. >> is that going to hinder or help us?
even now i see the benefits, i feel we're not going to figure out anything. >> in my extensive research on the singularity, i read an interview. that is what human beings do. i don't think anything we're doing thus far comes close to setting off the alarm bells we are talking about. >> the decision about whether we are playing god is informed about -- i'm sure a lot of people thought we were playing god when the first test-tube baby was conceived.
non answer for me. playing god is context- dependent. >> part of it is a matter of people understanding what genetic engineering can and cannot do. even if you have complete genetic control, you have still not defined the whole human being. you do not have alternate god- like power even with the ultimate degree of genetic control. knowing someone's dna does not define that person 100%. that's a very important message. >> something that's brought up when she was talking about the save your siblings, which i think is an advanced application
of genetic screening technology. she reminded me of the best case some of the may know about. the former basketball player for the utah jazz and is now with the chicago bulls and a member of the u.s. olympic gold medal team. his son has sickle cell anemia, and he mythological disorder that can be treated and cured with a bone marrow transplant. he and his wife underwent pre implantation diagnosis. his ex-wife gave birth to twins and not only were they selected to be free of the sickle cell trait, but they had a bone marrow match so that one gave a transplant and the elder sibling is doing great and i think they
have talked about a cure. these save your siblings have raised a lot of ethical questions about whether families have the right to bring new life on two years when one of these stating goals is to provide a cure or blood transplant for an existing sibling. that is a very slippery slope. it's one example of what the state of -- where the state of madison currently is. >> thank you very much for being here. as genetic screening -- it is against or 4 hour bemidji's no society, which section is a part of or why?
no -- machismo society. >> is the question clear? >> could you restate your question? >> is a genetic testing supporting our society? >> what you see as inequalities in our society? >> the prejudices' of the hierarchy. >> i think the example i mentioned early on when prenatal and pre implantation genetic testing is used to
identify female embryos come up with possible -- possibly selecting male embryos, that would be an example. the recent census in india -- there is a gap that has grown considerably in the last 10 years. your point is well taking -- well taken and we need to think about how technology is used. >> they can obviously be used for sex selection, but most don't use it under -- except for under extreme situations. >> i think what i am asking is
[unintelligible] >> i have an eight year-old daughter and i did not feel pressured into genetic screening for her. i had an illness in the family which would affect my daughter -- i'm talking on the personal level here -- i don't know of studies which have looked at attitudes regarding genetic screening. to me, it seems like an option rather than a mandatory thing or even something if you don't do, you'd be a bad potential parent. >> thank you. >> thank you for being here.
you talk about genetic screenings and how can provide a list -- what are the legal ramifications for providing them? if someone was found out to be a sociopath, with the firm providing that information be provided to the government or would they keep the records and release them for trial? >> unless they are talking about the male chromosome, i don't think that gene has been found. i see a barrier to decline of where we can go.
current companies and organizations we're talking about, life-threatening childhood diseases, we're not talking about anything behavioral or physical or those sorts of traits. could that happen down the road? in principle, it could. that something like a sociopath could be identified with one gene, in principle, there are specific genes that can predispose to aggression and violence and in very rare cases, but those are not being screened for. but if a family wanted to do sequencing and look for that for their own purposes, they could. would they have to report it to the government, i don't banks so. >> bit lies at the intersection
of medical research and of the law -- the law does not use genetic information to identify people. it is conceivable that they might look at genetic data generated by a research group and journals to require them to put datasets into repositories which have gotten more cagey about giving people access to the data. if, hypothetically, the fbi had a look at it and said that person has contributed their dna to this study. could the researcher be compelled to divulge the identity to the person in their study? there is a mechanism they can use prior to the study which protects them from having to do
that. but your question gets that this complex area where grips with very different goals are interested in genetic information. >> thank you. next, please. >> thank you for coming here to speak today. i think of this and the sense of tattoos -- once you get one, you want another and so on. when i am thinking about genetic variations and engineering, how do we say when changing the genome is enough and when to stop? at what point -- now we know there are instances of drug induced dementia from
pharmaceuticals. pharmaceutical drugs we think are hoping as have side-effects, somehow we know certain genetic changes don't create other changes that aren't necessarily wanted? i'm told it cautious -- i'm a little bit cautious about this bionic-induced dementia and how we can keep ourselves from deming ourselves down by thinking we're playing the smart move. notor the most part, we're talking about changing the structure of our genome. we're talking about techniques where we give natural selection all little nudge and implant this embryo or that embryo for
precisely the reason he mentioned. even assuming we had the technology, we can switch on this gene in the embryo. we have to be absolutely -- we are 1 million percent positive we can do this safely. the promise of your question is fair and there's a lot more research to be done. >> how do we determine safely and ethically who we test on and who is deserving -- whether or not they can afford it or whether someone who could not afford it is some -- is less deserving of a certain treatment? >> that is a social issue which we have very -- which we have barely touched on.
this is a society where the wealthier people get better medical treatment. there's no two ways about it. so if they have the chance to do the gene manipulation that will make their children smarter, taller and run faster. its inevitable that will happen and it's one more aspect of health care that is unevenly distributed. it's a fair point and no one has answers and we're decades away from having to consider it but we will have to. >> thank you. >> thank you for being here. who is driving the bus? many of us have the same concerns and reservations and see the benefit, but what if it ends up in the wrong hands?
how do we control that and where is this going? . at's why we practice on mice i don't know who you do research for, but that's it. >> thank you. with the exception of a clinic that may decide we're going to start screening for completely superficial purposes that people would find disturbing, i think most of the organization's driving genetic research, most of this is academic, the leading
genome centers, a machine as something about your leaders that i don't, i think they're doing this for all the right reasons. as far as genetic collection, doesn't mean there can be conflicts of interest. one trial led to the death of a young teenager who received a high dose in one trial and the investigator leading the trial was the founder of a company producing the factor and was appropriately sanctioned. call me optimistic, but i think that is very rare. >> there is certainly a profit motive here. i'm reminded of a economic company that was in operation and close down by the british regulatory authorities.
they were encouraging people to submit along with a check, a saliva samples for genetic analysis. on the basis of that analysis, they were told what food they needed to eat to optimize their health. there was no research foundation for that test where you get meaningful information back. there are probably quite a few other companies. it is wise to be wary of commercially available genetic technologies at the moment. >> in the agricultural world, there was a recent case involving a genetic engineer plant material which was going through the process and rather than get a complete scientific
review, there was enormous political pressure brought to bear and the decision was made to move forward more quickly than what was appropriate for a science standpoint. is going to take vigilance to pay attention to where these decisions are being made, whether they're made based on science or politics. we have seen way to many decisions made on a political basis and a monetary basis and not driven by good science. i would say we need to be exercising your voice and political activity to make sure we get the kind of elected officials that will not compromise and make those bad choices to advance a donor. >> we have a few minutes left, so we will make this the last question.
>> a lot of the technologies and techniques to have described have added longevity to the life of man. how do you feel this affect our planet on a humane standpoint and an ecological standpoint? how the feel a longer life span affects us -- how do you feel it longer life span affects us? >> you've stumped the panel. congratulations. [applause] your question is if everyone was longer, how does that affect how we do things? >> overcrowding or economics or food resources -- how will that affect us if we are creating more people and living longer?
>> i think the older society gets, the more resistant it is to making changes. if you ever get to the point where we are living a lot longer than we currently are, there would be disproportionate number of people where change is hard to make. i'm not sure that is a good thing. my personal view is we need to be making changes quicker to address the problems we're facing. as a baby boomer, that's something on my mind a lot. the generation committed to earth day is now a generation that is very reluctant to change the way we use energy and do a lot of things. i would hope as a part of getting people to live longer, we would find some way to help us make life adjustments as needed in a faster way. that is certainly something happening in a number of
societies. as the society pages -- as the society pages, they're not as successful and productive as they once were. >> that is a great point to end the session on. the goal of a lot of the technology we talked about was to eradicate severe disease genes and mitigating against type 2 diabetes or your cancer gene profile. people are not thinking about the implications, but will increase longevity. just routine medical and advances are increasing longevity pretty profoundly. >> it is one more example of a lack of long-range planning. >> thank you to our panel members. [applause] thank you to the audience.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> from afghanistan, the associated press is reporting a senior u.s. defense official says all eight of the military troops in -- and the contractor killed by an afghan pilot were americans. officials say it was the deadliest episode to date of an afghan turning against his own coalition partners. we will doubtless hear more about that from general richard mills, the regional commander for the marine corps in afghanistan. he is speaking today at the carnegie endowment for international peace and about half an hour. we'll have live for you on the c-span. federal reserve chairman, ben bernanke, holds the first news conference to present economic outlook and report on interest- rate changes. in the fast -- in the past, the first of four news conferences
-- we will have that to a clock 15 and your phone calls after. politics up next from this morning's "washington journal." the talk of violence is coming up at 1:00. " continues. host: as promised, we will spend the next 45 minutes talking about 2012 politics out of iowa and new hampshire. on the left of your screen, mike glover of the associated press. james pindell on your right out of manchester, new hampshire. he is their political director. i will ask you both this same question. can you give our viewers a sense of what is going on as far as your respective states are concerned as far as visits from candidates, how often, and how interested the people of your respective states are in 2012 presidential politics.
mr. glover? guest: the campaigns have started late, much later this time than they would have an earlier cycles, but they're starting now. we have candidates putting organizations on the ground. it is starting to happen. people are very interested. in my experience, people have been waiting for this to happen. they have been a little in patient. they have been looking forward to this campaign. host: mr. james pindell? guest: same reaction here. folks are very excited to get this campaign going. all we needed for many months was candidates. this was a very exciting time for new hampshire. we have our first big cattle call of candidates coming in on friday night and even bigger names. today, we will have a circus atmosphere, probably, with donald trump making his first trip to any primary state.
he will visit new hampshire in just a few minutes, flying in on a helicopter, actually. that's how he does it. for the most part, the activity has really increased at the beginning of march. it has really continued. host: one of the pieces in "the washington post" talks about donald trump. she describes him as this. "an avalanche of free publicity for the man who craves it." guest: look, a lot of questions will be answered today. for the most part, people do not believe he is serious about running for president. they are serious about trying to find someone else to feel their passion. for the most part, we are not finding a lot of folks who are really catching on as candidates.
for perspective, former governor mitt romney was here in southern new hampshire. we're very familiar with him. he has about a 30-point lead in the state. the big question is, who is in first place? the big question is, who is in second place? no one expects mitt romney to continue to have that lead. in the last couple polls, donald trump has been in second place. sometimes, it is rudy giuliani. he obviously has name recognition. we will get a better sense today if this is a circus, if he is mocking our process, or if he is a serious candidate. host: how did you look at donald trump? guest: one of the things that fascinates me -- republicans are looking for someone who they think can actually beat barack
obama. they have a number of candidates, tim pawlenty and rick santorum, who have spent a lot of time and money here putting their organizations together. it's difficult for a lot of republicans to see them beating barack obama. republicans are craving somebody who might have the money, the name, whatever it takes to win a general election match up with barack obama. some people think donald trump may bring that to the table. i think a lot of republicans are looking for that in a potential candidate, somebody who can win a general election. guest: a new gallup poll out today shows that 64% of americans would never vote for donald trump to be president. we will watch this of this tension that occurs every primary season in infrastructure and new hampshire about the heart versus the head.
the debate will certainly fluctuate. i'm not sure donald trump will be it at the end of the day. host: we will take some calls this morning. we will put the lines up there. if you live in iowa or new hampshire, a special line for you this morning. for those of you who live in those states, you can contribute. mike glover, go ahead. guest: what i was going to say about donald trump, this is a flirtation. a lot of republicans are in use or intrigued with the flotation of donald trump. host: royal oak, michigan. jim on the line for independents. go ahead. caller: yes, i think may be
asking you two gentlemen this question may be wrong. is it not ridiculous that we have two states, the last time i checked, accounted for less than 1% of the total population -- are going to determine who gets the presidential nomination? if this is nothing tail wagging the dog, this is the buck wagging the dog. host: mike glover? guest: it has got to start somewhere. voters have spent a lot of time in new hampshire paying attention and watching presidential politics and studying candidates. yeah, voters in those two states have proven their ability to make candidates walk the walk and talk the talk. yeah, i think they have proven
themselves good places to start the campaign. i think you need to understand that they do not nominate candidates. they just start candidates on their way. in iowa, we have three tickets out. what we do in iowa and new hampshire -- we do not decide who gets nominated, we decide who does not get nominated. i think the two states are good for that. host: james, as you answer this question, factor in the twitter. it says, "when was the last time new hampshire today president -- new hampshire picked a president?" guest: that's a good question. we had john mccain. before that, we picked john kerry. you have to go back all the way to 1988 before you have a
candidate that actually won. you have to get at least set the place to be the nominee. the reality, -- i went to college in des moines. is this process perfect? of course not. no process is perfect. then you have to take a process in which it chose the best candidates will emerge. i happen to believe that if you have a person running for president that makes a decision on who the winners and losers will be, when we go to war, and how we decide to send our youngest and brightest and bring this out to war. at some point, these people should have to talk to americans. if you are a highfalutin u.s. senator or someone on the list that could run for president,
you do not often run into everyday americans. iowa and new hampshire, because of their size and style of politics, forces that conversation to happen. beyond that, the larger states have a much bigger role when it comes to donating money and support to candidates. california, new york, florida, michigan have much bigger roles in the election. host: franklin, new hampshire. leo on the line for independents, you are next. caller: james, what are the state legislators do iing. guest: in new hampshire, we had a huge election in 2010. we went from a majority in the house and senate and even the body called the executive council, which is sort of the governor's council, it all went from democratic control to republican control in very big numbers.
in fact, veto-proof majorities. it sets the framework for what the energy is. in 2003, we had democrats trying to nominate a candidate against a republican incumbent president. it eventually came down to a electability decision. around the country, democrats got creamed in 2002. they are much more interested in compromising to find an electable candidate. in 2011, like right now, we saw our last election where republicans were fired up. they had big wins. now we find legislators -- of course, we have the largest legislature in the country. they are fired up and not really willing to compromise. we had a lot of hard for republicans who will stick with hard-core republican candidates.
that may benefit someone like michele bachmann or santorum. as we spend more time talking about who will appeal to the conservatives, which is a much more important conversation in infrastructure, -- in iowa, in new hampshire, 43% are independents. host: amelia on the line for democrats, go ahead. caller: yes, i want to say that i think obama is a real good president. mitt romney, right now, in new hampshire, he has a slight lead on obama in new hampshire. i still think that obama is much stronger than any other presidential candidate like mitt
romney, rick santorum, or donald trump -- i do not know. he's not going to run, anyway. host: mike glover, in iowa, factor in ron paul's announcement yesterday. guest: yes, it will be a fascinating thing to watch. right now, we are not talking about republicans versus barack obama. we are talking about a republican primary field. in this state, the republican party is pretty much prisoner of the evangelical christian white rinright wing. that will have an enormous impact as this primary goes forward -- as the caucus campaign goes forward.
it means that candidates like michele bachmann will have a leg up over candidates like mitt romney, who is a much more moderate republican candidate. mitt romney spent a lot of time in iowa during the last election and did not do very well. i do not think he will spend that timkind of time and money again. it will be a campaign for heart and soul of the iowa christian alliance. that will dictate who comes here, how often they come here, and who wins the thing. host: as far as the iowa secretary of state, as of the first of this month, there are 696,000 people in iowa who register themselves with no party. what does that mean? guest: that means independents will settle general elections three you have to remember independents do not have a strong tradition of participating in iowa caucuses. they are dominated by active
democrats and republicans. independents settle general elections, but they generally do not participate in iowa caucuses. iowa caucuses are partisan events. they are dominated by democrats and republicans. host: hampton, new hampshire is next. john, on the line for independents. good morning. caller: good morning. how're you doing? host: go ahead. caller: i want to comment on donald trump going for president. he's a fantastic financial person and he has gained much wealth. a business is one thing. running a country, you are running it for the people, not for yourself, in trying to control. i do not think he would be very good here in the united states. mitt romney, on the other hand, all we have to do is see what he did with the massachusetts.
i do not know if he would make it either. that's my opinion. host: who are you favoring? caller: at this point right now, i would not be surprised to see obama again. host: james pindell? guest: this state has been trending more and more democratic. approval rating is now in the low 40's. he's very vulnerable in this state. the conventional wisdom among democrats and republicans here is that barack obama may win reelection in terms of the country, but he will probably not win new hampshire as a particular state. host: according to the secretary of state, the amount of democrats and republicans is about the same, but the undecided is 392,000 plus. guest: we call them undeclared.
the democrats have made significant gains. in fact, following the 2008 election, they had a 5000-person registration advantage. the republicans now have a slight edge. the story is also independents. they are allowed, unlike iowa, not just to show up on new hampshire primary day, become a registered voter, pick a party, locked out, and no longer be a member of the party anymore. that's how our party work spirit is very inclusive and very open. it also means, for some republicans, they would not prefer these independents would have a say. it also might be a good indication of who would be the best general election candidate. host: republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. what is the same thing happens? republicans will do everything
they can to put someone up there who will not win against obama. they do not want a regime change. as far as mitt romney or donald trump -- we could have mickey mouse running for all that matters. the media will sell someone who is not going to win against obama until we have to go by a person's voting record. ron paul has a voting record that is impeccable. you know where mitt romney is. we know where donald trump is. donald trump does not have a voting record, but that's what i wanted to say about this whole thing. we will watch the republican party do everything they can to make sure we have another john mccain, who will not win against obama. host: mike glover, i'm going to ask you to answer that, but first a question from waterloo, iowa. david on the line for democrats. are you there? go ahead.
caller: hello? hello? yes, i'm here. host: caller, stop listening to the tv. go ahead with your statement or question. caller: i believe obama will probably win this primary. i think the republicans -- any candidate that they may have does not really have a chance at this point against mr. obama. i think the key point behind that is that -- -- is the -- look at what is going on in wisconsin. we see what is going on with the people of that state and we do not think -- well, i do not think the republicans can generate a player in the national committee that will be able to challenge mr. obama. host: we will leave it there. mr. glover, i will add one more thing to this mix.
this is from twitter. with all that in mind, go ahead. guest: yes, they do. they are driving the republican party in that direction. they are driving the debate within the republican party in that direction. that's a problem for the republican party. in new hampshire -- iowa has roughly the number of democrats and republicans. they're both outnumbered by independents. independents decide general elections. increasingly, within the republican party, your finding that the right wing of the republican party is dictating what happens in the party. that means that a candidate like michele bachmann could do very well in the republican caucus campaign. a candidate that appeals to that wing of the party can do very well in a republican primary. when it comes to a general election, it may not do so well.
they may not be able to capture the independent vote, which will swing back and forth between democrats and republicans, depending on the move, depending on the elections. that is a challenge for the republican party. one of the first tasks -- is often said the first thing a primary voter is supposed to do is pick a candidate that appeals to the beliefs of the party, but b, can win the general election. they will have a tough candidates time tough that can -- it will have a tough time choosing candidates that can be barack obama. it will be tough because of the makeup of the primary field. host: houston, texas, good morning. pam on the line for democrats. caller: yes, i agree with what you have obama's been have -- what you have been saying about president obama's chances.
one issue is a real thorn in his side and that is the free-trade issue. i voted for him specifically because he was going to take on free trade. in my opinion -- i've owned a business in houston for 30 years. that business is now completely destroyed and it is entirely because of free trade. the idea that we can continue going down this free trade pact while our economy continues to go down is ludicrous. obama has signed three new free trade agreements after he said that he would take on the free traders and if anything, we would average rate for the going back on our free trade agreement -- we would abrogate or go back on our free trade agreement. i will probably vote for donald trump in the next election simply because he seems to
understand that the reason we're having the problems we're having is because, for example, ge is sending all the jobs to mexico. they are not making any refrigerators in the united states and they're still charging americans the same amount as when they were made in america. host: what caller: you think of: -- host: what do you think of that? guest: a lot of the new hampshire economy is tied to free trade. you do find pretty much a united consensus of pro-free trade for both barack obama and maybe with some restrictions for him and with the republican party. i do not see this as a disappointing and the general election -- i do not see this as a decisive point in the general election.
guest: this has been a huge issue. this has been an emerging issue in the last month or so. frankly, you have to give some credit to donald trump, who really put this on the map. i think he is the first potential presidential candidate to bring the issue to the forefront. this is something he will be talking about a lot today, i think, in new hampshire. people are asking the questions about what we can do to lower gas prices. the question is whether or not politicians can give an answer they actually believe. locally, we have the new hampshire house speaker tried to offer a gas tax holiday, taking off 5 cents per gallon. for the most part, there's been a big shrub of the shoulders. 85 cents is not going to make a big difference. host: mississippi, independent line. caller: yes, thank you for
taking my call. i wanted to know whether representative paul ryan is making any effort toward organizing a campaign. if he were to do so, do you think he would be an electable candidate? host: mike glover? guest: no. we have seen no organizing efforts on his part in the state. yes, i think he could be, should he put the effort out. we are pretty well into this ballgame. the iowa caucuses will be in about 10 months. we're pretty late in this game for someone to begin a campaign right now. i think we have seen the few we will have. i think it's a little late for somebody else to try to enter the field, unless that person was an overarching big-name that could bring that to the race. i do not see that type a personality right now. host: mike glover, what you think the potential of daniels
out of indiana? guest: he could be a formidable candidate. he's a midwesterners. we relate to midwesterners. he brings a name i.d. he brings a financial thing to the field. i have to tell you, mitch daniels did himself some harm with social conservatives when he said it was time for republicans to "call a truce on debating social issues." a lot of people -- a big applause line that you hear at republican events ispeople undel conservatives do not like it. he would have a big hurdle to overcome social conservatives. host: what do you think? guest: obviously he is a social
conservative. i believe the republican caucus goers next year, 60% to 65% are evangelical. a statement like that will hurt him. in the state like new hampshire is the second-least religious state in the country. we do not care about social issues. he has to focus really on fiscal matters. he could be something like a player here. he is completely unknown. he has never visited the state. you do here among certain republican elite they are interested. he's could certainly be a player. -- he could certainly be a player. host: keno on the republican line. for c-span. before psittac
i have a citizen who could help is the billbill cohen. what do you think my chances are? energy independence would be the main thing we have to get this country not shoveling the massive transfer of wealth to the middle east and the vulnerability with all the turmoil. this is a man who could win. what do you think? guest: i did not see anything about the bill cohen running for president. until he comes up here in campaigned himself, his chances are not too hot. you can certainly give him on the ballot. good luck to you. host: as far as parcourse
candidates, any in your minds that stand out right now? -- dark horse candidates, any in your minds that stand out right now? guest: obviously mike we will probably talk about the last caucus winner. mike huckabee. john huntsman is also someone to watch. he is the current ambassador to china. in his resignation becomes official on friday. bill cohen serving for bill clinton. both of them have to explain why they made the move. guest: i think that we are -- we mentioned this a couple of times. we are pretty far into the ball game. we are 10 months from the iowa caucuses. if you're going to start campaigning in iowa, you better
be here doing it now appeared and there is not a lot of time for someone to lead in at the last minute, except for a huge name like sarah palin. she could probably jump in the summer and be competitive. the names you were mentioning, it is difficult for me to see how they could begin a campaign at this point and put an organization together and be competitive in iowa caucuses. host: democrats line. lee from nevada. caller: i would like to thank you for letting us be on and practice democracy. i wanted to say that i voted for republicans and democrats in the past, and i kind of see a bad turn by the republican parties in that you guys keep complaining about how bad
everything is, how horrible the government is. in then when you get in it you do everything you can to make government run worse than it already is. i would like to see a little bit of moderation and someone come out of the republican party that actually has real honest the answers. someone that is a little bit more moderate. someone who wants to really look thise tax loopholes and augus huge transfer of wealth that has gone from the middle class to the rich people. some guy the other set the rich people pay most of the taxes. i said most of the other people do all the work. it is kind of common sense that after you complete decimate the middle class we will be at third world country. host: mike, what would you add
to that? guest: that is one of the problems in the republican party right now. i do not anticipate barack obama will have a democratic primary challenge. i think it is largely a republican story. but we're looking at is largely an examination of the republican party. what we're finding is a republican party that is increasingly dominated by the wing, and it will be a challenge for the party to come up with a nomination that can win the general election. that is a very big challenge for is republican party at as currently structured. we will see what happens over the next six to eight months as the began to whittle the field of potential candidates and see who takes an edge. it is a big challenge for the party, and i am not sure the party is up for it. host: as far as crown teams and
organizations, who has the best organization right now in iowa? -- as far as ground teams and organizations, who has the best organization right now in iowa? guest: newt gingrich is most established. i think they are establishing the republican ground games that we will see. i think they have an edge right now. host: we have a call coming in from north liberty, iowa. go right ahead. caller: this is still calling from north liberty, iowa, and i wanted to discuss the local situation in iowa and regards to politics. we have a governor that was
elected in november overwhelmingly, but his problem is that he is now giving away money and reducing taxes, and it is on the people that need it in schools. we have a thing here in iowa called the zero growth, and some school districts are not allowed to tax anymore and they have to go ahead and use their reserve funds. he believes that there should be zero growth in the next two years under his administration. i belong to an organization called i was citizens for community improvement, and we are working with other people throughout the state. host: we will leave it there.
i want to read something to you that has just come off "the associated press. they are reporting that the white house has released a copy of the long form version of president obama's birth certificate from hawaii. he is expected to address this issue at 9:45 this morning. mike glover, you go first. guest: as long as republicans are talking about barack obama's birthday certificate, they better prepare for a second obama presidency. it is the silliest thing i have heard of in a long time. there is room to challenge barack obama, not on this issue. host: what you make of this issue of releasing the birth certificate and a statement at 9:45? guest: i think it is something
that the white house is using this common sense for keeping this issue going. it is not a serious issue that will move the independent voters. host: as you see on your screen right now, here is a copy of the certificate that was released by the white house. you can see it on the screen. what do you add to it as far as this announcement and what it does for this discussion that has been going on as far as 2012 politics is concerned? guest: right now he is about to up the first press conference ever. he is about to have a press conference nationally. whether you agree or not about the merits of this conversation about the birth certificate, you hear from house party to house party jobs, gas prices. these are the things people are really concerned about. things like british of it is a highly partisan conversation
that will really not appeal well to independent voters. -- things like birth certificates is a highly partisan conversation that we're really not appeal well to independent voters. guest: this will create doubt among some who believe this was an issue. there will probably be temporarily keeping this issue in the news media. host: president issues -- the president will address this at 9:45 this morning. if you want to see this, you can see it at 9:45 on c-span.org. at 10:00 we will show it to you. host: mass., go ahead. caller: i have a very bad habit
of expressing my opinion in crude terms. i would not vote for obama, because he has been such a terrible lawyer from the very beginning. he says one thing today and two or three days he will change his story. i just do not trust someone that reacts like that. as far as the birth certificate is concerned, he waited too long to confront that story. i am one of them that believe there is a possibility that certificate would be manufactured. host: let me take one more call. palm bay, florida. keith on the republican line. caller: i am not looking for
republican or democrat. i am looking for truth behind their name. the closest i have seen is chris christie. the education system where everyone had to go to college, and half of them are getting a local arts degree in cannot do labor, so then we have to have you beagles to the real labor. the tax situation where the federal budget is 14 trillion dollars. between the states is another three trillion dollars. just and that alone, not counting cities, local education, and counties your polling 17 trillion dollars out of 14 trillion dollars gdp. host: to wrap it up to both of our guests, tell our viewers what to look for in the next few weeks and months.
guest: i think we will have a better sense of who is running for president. this is been a very importanct couple of months. we have learned who was in and out. we have learned the governor of mississippi will not be in. we will have a better sense of who is actually running into is not running in the next few months. guest: i think we will know what the republican field will look like. i think we have a pretty good idea of art right now, but i think by june we will know what the republican field will look like. i think right now we're going to hear for the next six to eight months about an anti-obama ramp from the republican party that sells very well in republican circles, that excites the bases. i think that is what we will
hear over the next six months. host: mike glover works for "the associated press" in iowa. james p pendall work >> live now at the carnegie endowment for national peace to hear from general richard mills who has been the coordinator for the marine corps in afghanistan for the past year. he is expected to talk about the anticipated start of the u.s. troop withdrawal from afghanistan and is also certain to make comments on the report of eight u.s. service members killed in afghanistan earlier today. live coverage just getting underway here on c-span. >> there are times when i think history feels like it is moving
too fast. from my vantage point, this is one of those. while it is hard to drag our eyes away from the enormous achievement happening in the middle east, it is critical to remember we are in the longest war in american history in afghanistan. 115 months, and still counting. 130,000 u.s. and allied troops and a set ofround challenges, both military and civilian, that have proved enormously resistance to solution. as you well know, our local government partner -- this
really does not earn that moniker, "partner." it is neither popular nor trusted. we have a week after an institution and an insurgency that is still operating across the border in pakistan, a situation that has proven to be almost an insurmountable obstacle to military victory, certainly both in correa and vietnam where we faced -- korea and vietnam where we faced the same problem. the u.s. has made over this enormously long time a tremendous amount. changed strategies come as -- a change strategies, strange leaders -- changed leaders.
we have dealt with this set of issues and now face one of the toughest moments, which is to figure out how to begin soon -- and are we, as i gather, is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? and this question, where as we have seen this week with the canned a hard -- kandahar prison escape, which to me was particularly telling because in the five months it took to dig this tunnel into the prison, at least as far as we are told in the u.s. press, and no afghans came to tell us or afghan authority that this effort was underway. it tells you something about
what we are against. we have heard from general petraeus recently bought a word of cautious optimism about the military situation, but we are farther into this year's fighting, and we are facing a changing situation we have with us today to share his insights on the situation on the ground, we have the privilege of hearing from general richard mills, who for the past five years has been the senior-most marine in afghanistan and leading operations where he oversaw 30,000 coalition troops in helmand province. he has two tours of duty in afghanistan -- i mean, surry, in iraq. and before that, also in kosovo.
he has had a highly successful 36-year career and in the marines. he has had a long experience with situations not unlike the one he has faced in afghanistan. so, we are going to hear his assessment after his last tour of duty there, where we stand in terms of kosovo and combat operations and of the challenges are ahead. then we will have a chance to ask questions. i will think you for coming to share your sussman with us and we very much look forward to hearing from you. >> thank you. i want to start off by thinking ms. matthews and the endowment for this opportunity to speak. i hope i live up to all of your expectations and i look forward
to the questions i will get at the end of the brief. let me just qualify my presentation just a bit so you understand where i am coming from. i am going to talk about the southwest corner of afghanistan, helmand province and a small slice of kandahar. that is where i was for the last 12 months. that is my area of operations. i am happy to answer questions about afghanistan, but that would be my opinion, and probably not forged by personal observations. i spent most of my time in the capitol. just a quick background. i was commander of the first marine division, very happy in my duties. the plans for the marines in afghanistan in late 2009 was 10,000 marines on the ground would be replaced man for man, and that would be the extent of
our commitment. in december 2009, president obama made the decision for the surge, and i was alerted i would be sent forward with 20,000 marines to expand our forces with an all month province. i was also told -- expand our forces would helmand province. i was also told i would take command of the nato regional commands and 10,000 british forces. those british forces were embedded in some other nato forces, the estonians, the danes, and we also have georgians under my command. it was a nato force. we were joined by 120 british officers who fleshed out my staff and my deputy was a u.k. officer who served with me during my year on the ground out there. we had a marine air-ground task
force, based on a division of 13,000 men, with heavy artillery, light armored vehicles, engineers, reconnaissance elements, aircraft dealer with a fixed wings and the entire gamut of rotary error -- rotary aircraft. and close air support provided by hueys and cobras. i do not want to insult anyone's intelligence by pointing out we were operating in the southwest corner of afghanistan. there are 2 million afghans who live in that area. 1.5 million live in helmand province. i will speak specifically about helmand province. it was all low level of insurgency there, so i approached it in a different manner. helmand province has a long connection with the united
states of america. people remember writ very well. they built 1950's, an agricultural irrigation system in helmand province to turn the desert into a lush agricultural area that was 10 kilometers wide. the province is dominated by the helmand river that flows from the north east down into iran. it slowly slips off into the desert and lasts 100 miles from the foothills down to the pakistan border. the population is focused along the river, about 1.4 million. everything from the north to the south just one more word on the
irrigation system. does play a very important role for us. but, again, built by americans in the 1950's, a large hydroelectric dam that provides electric power to two-thirds of afghanistan and more importantly, water controls of the area is farm 12 months out of the year. the irrigation system is simple, yet gravity-fed, and has been maintained by the afghans ever since. they remember the americans quite finely. the company town, built by the company that built the system, and if you see those zero buildings, and you will see american ladies playing tennis in short skirts and american men moving around, and afghan people in western dress working closely with the americans. it was the breadbasket of afghanistan for many years and produce everything from corn,
wheat, potatoes, and pomegranates. if you have not had a helmand pomegranate, you have not had a pomegranate. spread the word. some 90% of the world's heroin is produced there. it became a huge cash crop and remain so under the insurgency, focused in two areas in the north and south. it is a cash crop every farmer deals about -- dreams about. it does not take much rain. very little care. it blooms and beautiful try colored flowers and it becomes a bulb you score and collect the sap out of it. it is a great deal for a former trying to feed his family.
it goes to the streets of l.a., new york, london as heroin. we dealt with it as that. we interdicted it. we did not get involved in eradication, but we were involved with the interdiction of those drugs in one town on the border that i will talk about in an minute, there was a key node in the supply section. so, once again, the southwest corner of afghanistan. this is the operational a point to -- approach to our time there. i will just point out a couple of things there. the river that flows there, the green line that flows north to south, the snake, those are towns across the river. most are villages that you could find in any agricultural area.
small shops. marketplaces, places you can buy and sell cotton, wheat, potatoes. unfortunately, you could also buy drugs a year or so ago. that is not so anymore. i will also point out that we operated very closely with the afghan government. everything we did was partnered with the afghan security, both in the military and the police will. i had a full court of afghan soldiers in my area. formed in march 2010. we had three brigades of about 12,000 soldiers on deck, well commanded, well-led, and increasingly well trained. when i left six weeks ago, they were effectively conducting independent operations, just enablers support from our operations. things like communications, some supporting arms, air support,
and medivac. although they could have done medevac, we give the medevac so they could have the same facilities we enjoy as well. we had a great information kits, and we cooperated with the western and afghan media to get the story of what we were doing up on the street to the afghan people. and perhaps some slight change would have been done before we got there, and emphasis on maintaining momentum on the enemy. when we are riots in the country, it was someone -- when we arrived in the country, it was somewhat of a stalemate. in my opinion, the enemy had something of a momentum on the ground to dictate when the fighting would take place, to be able to use iud's on the ground. we consolidated some basics.
the enemy was fit to retrain, plan. i am sure people in this room -- some of you probably remember the battle that was under way when we're brought. we took a look round and look at our capabilities. it was not going to be one in the streets, but rather in the outlying communities. the main impact was to disrupt the enemy, pushing back on his main floods. we found that to be extraordinarily successful. although a tough, resilient enemy, he has ways he likes to fight operations. he likes to fight linearly. he does not like support arms, close air support.
he is definitely afraid of being maneuvered against. all of these were brought to bear against the enemy in a series of battles, drove him away from the population centers, moved him into areas where he could be less effective. we felt we had some success at doing that. the battle was a major fight for us all last summer it had morphed into a much quieter place. now, if you go on the streets, there are restaurants open, kebab stance where you can get a nice lunch, anything you are particularly interested in, and the downtown has very few security issues whatsoever. it is a town that has more and more security out on the street.
the afghan police force arrived in june. i asked about a local afghan security force. the elders shook their heads, absolutely not. they wanted no part of afghan police. the afghan police had a reputation for thievery and being shakedown artists. they said they would never accept an afghan police presence. and in working with them over the summer months and showing them some training objectives and techniques, they slowly gave in, which we were able to transfer some veteran police officers and get a footprint on the ground and ask them to recruit local boys. we had five police stations open and any city in march. 120 police officers were local boys from the streets and returned back to do their police work.
from the training perspective, we stressed police techniques and skills, but we also stressed to protect and serve. we seem to be having some success doing that. one of the battles we had of course, to be a police officer in helmand province, you have to have a third grade education. we think the literacy rate in helmand province for men is below 10%. for ladies, it is probably below 1%. there is no way to gauge the female literacy rates because our ability to deal with them as relatively low. i will talk about that again in a minute. we have the literacy program ongoing in the police trading -- training academy, and once they get up on the beat, we have teachers that teach basic third grade literacy. this is the way we found helmand province when we arrived.
we found a resilience, robust insurgency that been kicked out of some of the key population centers but was a significant presence within the province. of course, if it is read, that is bad. if it is yellow, the government of afghanistan is going to take control. control backed up by coalition forces, of course. as you can see, there is a brazilian insurgency on the ground, funded through the use of drug money -- there is a resilience insurgency on the ground, funded through the use of drug money. they are primarily coming north out of pakistan through the red blob you see on the bottom. we focus on the population and we looked at the areas which is
where the population lives. when we arrived, we are obviously going to do full- fledged joint operations, but we thought perhaps it had gone a little bit out of whack. what you had to focus on the operation, you could not lose sight of the enemy. you could not allow the enemy to dictate what was happening on the battlefield. you could not allow him to murder and intimidate through the efforts to try to make. we tried to rebalance through that maneuver i talked about earlier, to take the battle to him, to make sure he was uncomfortable. we found that relatively successful. as you know, there were a series of battles down to be fishhook, which is the southern part of the river, and we had him in march 2011, that is slightly out of date. i would put more green and yellow on that map if i were
doing it again. we believe we have regained the initiative in controlling those populations. again, it looks like manhattan island, but those are not roads. i showed you this map to give you an example of the metrics this is an overhead shot taken by u.s. satellites capability of the crops being grown in marja. on the left is marja, taken before we arrived. if it is yellow, that is poppy. if you see green, that is weeks. wheat also grows very well there. if you see purple, that is some other crop, not cotton. on the right -- of which the one
on the right were all solid yellow -- i wish the one on the right were all solid yellow -- again, it shows progress being made. as we take control of those areas, as the government of afghanistan moves in to do what local governments do, one of which is a strong eradication program, you will see the poppy disappear. the provincial governor is radically anti-drug. he has several very strong programs against poppy. he has a very strong eradication program he does on his son. very effective. -- he has a very strong theoretician program he does on his fallen one -- own. they got wheat feed and lessons on how to grow whaeat -- wheat.
not for free, but at a reduced price. that encouraged them to participate. will there be popping grown in helmand province this year? absolutely. but there will be a slow reduction in the overhaul -- overall -- what i see on that map is a reduction in the moneys the insurgency will get. why is that important to him? it was his funding source. he had to fight for it. in addition to being the center of thepashtun -- the pashtun community, it was psychologically important, but more importantly, it was materially important. he cannot afford to give it up. we believe we cut his operating budget last year in half because of the reduction of the poppy. how do we see that? it turned into him trying to receive old ied's from the
ground he had not used and losing people doing that. like any commander, he relies on resources. when his resources are reduced, his fighting forces are reduced. no question about it. again, that was the series of fights. let me talk about this very quickly before a move on to the afghan security forces. 75 miles south of my last line force, wide open desert, it is something like the bar scene in "star wars." there are 150 shops. no one lives there. just corkage shopkeepers. if you want to buy any weapons in the world, that is where you want to go.
you will find every drug in the world moves south, and you will find ammunition, recruits heading north to fight the insurgency. we decided that could not stand, and we rated that place twice. once last fall. we went in, took over, it took about 24 hours to hold it. we went into the bazaar, and we found shops with weapons and drugs that we destroyed. we disrupted significantly his ability to resupply himself. we saw that in a drop of of fighting in the late fall. we went back in in late winter. it was disrupted for a longer time. he relies on this area to move
his equipment north, and very important drugs out into the world market. i will tell a story about this fight. perfect. the kernels are finding those plans. there was a very narrow valley you had to go up. it was heavily mined. they were placing a traditional battle. the key was to get through the narrow gap in into the city to take it over. we laid out a very detailed plan where we were going to lay out a line against the mall -- against the minds. that is an explosive growth that goes off.
and you push the bulldozer and it pushes the mines out. it is the key to the store. we moved south. our objective was to attack at first light. it was all time to very well. i was watching the plan on fold. 35, 40 miles north of baramcha, vehicles sold in one bulldozer breakdown. dead in the sand. i am on the radio. the colonel is getting confused and excited. tempers are getting more excited. the majors were really excited. everybody is talking. what to do, what to do? in the middle, the vehicle breaks and axle. i am seeing my meritorious service medal disappear off in the distance. a u.s. corporal walked up to the vehicle, takes a look at the bulldozer, hops up on top,
starts up, back set of the vehicle. he asks the sergeant, "which way?" he pointed south. it was kind of like john wayne. and he headed south at 3 kilometers an hour. sure enough, when the sun came up over baramcha, we were able to execute that plan on time and very successfully. i do not want to say for the want of a lance corporal, that could have been a very long morning for me. i had the 215th corps in my zone. we got there. they had concentrated on raising infantry units. they had three brigades. they were spread out over the battlefield. our forces were partnered at every level with our afghan partners. we are going to work with them very closely. they had a high ua rate.
we found that afghan soldiers go over the hill for the same reason american soldiers do. they are not getting paid very well. they decide there's a better living to be made somewhere else. we worked with them to get their pastry. as amazing as it sounds, an afghan soldier gets paid by electronic means. he does not get cash. it is transferred to his bank account. he has a plastic card just like we all have. that was the problem. so i am working with the banking industry, we were able to get bank facilities set up in the army camp so the soldier did not have to run home to pay his family. he did it electronically. that's with a fair leave policy -- everybody home at some point -- we dropped the ua rate to
less than 9%. by the time we left, they conduct their own operations. they are deploying the around, they execute the operations, and then withdraw. they are not afraid to take on the enemy. the afghan soldier is a good soldier. he is willing to fight and he is tough in the field. there are several levels of police force. uniformed police -- there is 7500 in the province. there will be north -- there will be more next year. numbers alone and not going to do it. we need trained policeman. so, rather than surge 10,000 all at once, we take it incrementally so when we put police in the beat, he knows what he is doing. there are good units, good precincts. there are others that need more supervision.
again, through the partnership program, we are finding success i knew i was doing all right when i went to marja in march, and if i had my video, i would show you -- i was able to cross the main bazaar we had to fight extremely hard for all summer. you could not cross it without having to jump from rpg rounds and small arms fire. the last time i visited marja, a policeman wanted to to get me for jaywalking because i barge across the road. i tried to explain who i was, but it did not cut the mustard, i am afraid. i think i have to go back next month to pay my traffic fine. the police are taking more and more responsibility, doing what police do. is there still corruption? yes. is there still training that
needs to be done? yes. do they still need to be partners? yes. are they becoming more effective? yes. in lashkar gah, the provincial capitol, a couple of events over the last year. we had a concert by the afghan elders. the taliban told us that concert could not go. they would not allow it to happen in public. it could be held in the football station where the taliban used to hold the public executions we stayed home and watched. 10,000 people showed up, enjoyed a very professional concert by a guy who lives in l.a. he goes to afghan -- he goes to afghanistan for entertainment. then we had a similar concert. a female singer who came in second in the afghan "star
search." she performed in front of a mixed crowd, men and women, which is very unusual in afghanistan. the elections be held in september, we held congressional elections. once again, the taliban told us that could not happen. it would not allow this polling stations to open and it would kill anybody that showed up. the stations opened at 7:30 in the morning on time and closed at 10:00 that night, on time. we closed no polling stations that day. we took no direct fire. we had incidents in the rural areas of gunfire, but that may have been over the elections as opposed to anything else. i sat down with our partners and went through the security procedures. afghan security is run by afghans. as you can see, they continue to
develop their army, especially maintenance procedures. the army is basically a light infantry unit. there are no sophisticated weapons systems out there yet. very basic stuff. the pickup trucks. they have light weapons they can maintain themselves. and the radio communication is rudimentary, but effective. we are not giving them anything they cannot sustain in the long run. this shows the continuing. again, they started small. they worked towards more sophistication and more importantly, to more confidence. they are good fighters. they want to fight. they like to fight. as long as you support the mall, you will not have a problem to get them to go to the sound of the guns. stability operations -- once you did your clearing, you probably
call the government. we worked on a more short-term basis and we told the people -- we talk to the afghan and local governments, what do you need? what do they want? number one, education. they wanted schools. that is the one thing they asked for. get us schools. they understand that the taliban burned schools. they wanted them rebuild. they knew what they were missing. so, we were putting school zone up, new structures and temporary structures such as tents. and people came. 125,000 students, 20,000 of them women. on heard of under the taliban. rudimentary, yes, but effective, also. again, the people understand what they missed. a generation of illiterates.
they know what that means. i do not want to take too much time, but the story i'd tell -- i went around to visit one of the local schools. it is a big deal. we all know the students. a visitor would come through, and the kids are all lined up. the children are all sitting there in rose, and they do not have desks, and of course, the gentleman comes in, and he has a song and upon and is very proud of showing off his facility. in the back row, there are 7, 8, 916-year-old spirit this is the third grade classroom. the headmasters of those larger and men, and i asked if that was the football team. he did not get the joke either. [laughter] what they were as young men who
were illiterate who wanted to learn to read and write. and there were willing to sit down in the classroom to do it. when i was 16, i would not have sat in a third grade classroom. my pride would not have allowed. but they understood. we saw students arrive in the class. we saw the parents make the investment in the future. i began to bleed in the sustainability of what we were doing. -- i began to believe in the sustainability of what we were doing. the taliban said they would burn the schools. yet, the children came. we are having some trouble finding qualified teachers. but they are looking for education. that is the long term development that means the most to them. on sunday night, the insurgents came, burned the school to the ground. we did not know that. we did not have our report on the. the next morning, parents showed
up and asked if they could borrow pins. we gave them pence. they took them back to the -- we give them pens. the to come back to the school grounds and school was in session and in that same day. the shows you the commitment. i have one more slide here. i will keep moving. again, infrastructure and roads was critical. if they ever want to have a commercial economy, they are going to need that road system. i talked about the 2010 elections. once we had a good provincial governor in place, we began to work on those logistic governments and, so they could be representative of the people. . what they do is prioritized
family -- protest programs. did try to figure out what the people want as opposed to what the americans and the coalition think they ought to have. once again, there are 1500 registered voters in marja. 1100 showed up for the election. although it looks rambunctious, it was all good spirits. no one bothered them or shots were fired. it is fully operational at this time, and more importantly, it now is getting funding through a couple -- through kabul for projects the locals want to do. very quickly, we will level of insurgency.
very low population. we opted not to make that an interim military operation. we dealt with the governor on some things such as you see, some of the improvements in the economic areas, school improvements, the canal system. my intent was to turn it over to civilians entirely. i do not think there was a military need to be there, other than trainers with the local police force. almost finished here. a huge part of the population of afghanistan, we have very little access we have the cultural norms of the afghan society. that is the way it has to be.
the role of women is obviously different than it is in the west tomorrow, but you have to respect that. we are not there to change afghan society. we are there to work with them, but not to change the bottom line. also helmand province is quite conservative in its values. and it is barely literate. you have to take all the factors into consideration. i of a very strong major i and my staff, a school administrator from san francisco. i made her my gender adviser. we worked very closely with the community for small units, and we put female soldiers out at the local level to do engagement. some areas were tougher than others. some were more receptive. some of the more cosmopolitan areas of the village.
anyway, we were able to engage in an awful lot of that. we did two things with the female engagement. the first is to set an example for the afghan men what it is western women do. when they come into a village in helmets, flak jackets, and they take the stuff of in the meetings, the afghan men were amazed. the afghan men were amazed that women were issuing orders to men. rank structure is ranked structure. that was teaching by the indirect approach, if you will. more importantly, they got inside the buildings, inside the compound, with the female interpreters and talked to the afghan ladies. they wanted two things. they wanted health care and education.
we would then work with the female population. it was difficult, but it was very worthwhile. again, we did have some females on the provincial council, educated ladies who did a good job. but again -- we opened up a large section of the population we did not have access to and provided insight. the other thing we've worked out was freedom of movement. they like to travel and visit their families much like we do. the hard surface road that runs
around afghanistan does east and west. it does not do as much good. we had a hard-packed roads. at it had a huge impact at the local level. commerce followed and the people truly appreciated that. the other piece is the freedom of movement of ideas. how do we move ideas around. that is how we are going to change that environment. as we dealt with the females and looked for ways we could help them. although they are in some ways not a very developed country, in one way they are very developed. we put together a program to try to teach women to read by radio. we got school box -- school books and instructors.
the success of the operation is yet to be determined. ladies cannot leave the house and are able to get a communication system. we will see if it works out they are very big on cellular phones. everyone is on cell phones there. it works great. the taliban threatened sulfone towers through threats and intimidation -- cell phone towers through threats and intimidation. we put in our own system that allows 24/7 coverage and work with commercial companies to keep this hours open and we are making good progress on that. just one quick story here. i know i am about out of time. we were making headway, and i went into a cell phone store,
and i asked the guy, "how is business?" he said that it could always be better. i asked, how is your cell phone coverage? and he said it was terrible. i said, what do you mean? he said that if he wanted to talk to lashkar gah, he had to go into his backyard to get a good connection. i asked if he was a verizon customer or something. [laughter] i apologize for running over. i hope we have some time for questions. again, i appreciate everyone's attendance. i have been accused of having a bit of our rosy regards. i do think things are better than our report over there.
an independent survey, not dumb but the -- not done by the marines or the coalition, showed that 80% of the population in helmand province, when asked their number weren't security -- to when asked their number one concern, last year it was security. this year, it was education. to me, that is success. the last thing i will say is too close and say, i know there is this kind of thing in town that these schools cost of free cup of tea. the schools did not. the afghan army lost hundreds more than i did. i can tell you, we probably killed the same number of them. they probably lost more soldiers on the battlefield than we did. there is a price to be paid for
what happened last year. with that, thank you very much for your attention. [applause] >> yes, i know. i think there are a lot of questions. i am sorry. people will be brief. we will start with these three right here. please identify yourself. >> thank you, general. i'm a documentary filmmaker. my question is all too brief, but the wall street journal published an article saying -- thethe pakastani is pakastanis are trying to push nato to a new coalition between pakistan and china. i would like to hear your opinion on this. >> thank you. right next to you?
>> mark thompson, "time" magazine. the taliban commanders in new aor, how many are flippable and how many are incorrigible? >> thank you. >> in from the woodrow wilson center. you have given us a bright side, a general. what is the bleaker side? and could you tell us the status of the power of the dam? thank you. >> regards -- i am sorry. regards pakistan, i really cannot comment on being pushed into a new coalition. i will say this. i will say this.